Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Better Apple Butter Quest

Starts HERE 
Tis The Season...well, no, not THAT season yet. But, I am preparing for it now with jars of Apple Butter to give to my friends. Nothing says "Sweet Dreams" like a jar of homemade apple butter...right? 
Bring the Haul Home

I have made several adjustments to a recipe that I found using the crock pot.  Finally, I just decided to give up on the recipe.  It was coming out either too sweet or WAY too sweet, calling for 6 cups of sugar to 12 Cups of apples. Today, I made a crock pot full of apples, adding just one cup of sugar  and it tastes awesome. I'll be processing it later today. Here's what I've discovered: Pack your crock pot full of apples, and add about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of liquid (use apple juice or water. I used water). Set it on High, and let the apples bake down. As they bake down, stir and add more apples. When those bake down, add about 6 tablespoons of cinnamon and 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cloves. Stir, and add more apples to fill it to the top.

Pack your crock pot with cored/sliced apples
It gets a little tricky at this point. The main question is: "To sugar or not to sugar?" The sweeter the apple, the less sugar (I feel) is required. I sure wish I knew what variety of apples I'm picking, but the trees in my area don't have signs on them, and no one seems to know either. So, it's hit and miss...luckily I've had a hit. I made my last batch with just one cup of sugar and it came out fabulous! Rich and thick, just the right amount of sweet.

Finished jars of Apple Butter
After it all cooks down, I prepare the jars accordingly. I then take my emulsion blender and start mixing like crazy until it's nice and smooth. The color is a rich brown and the texture is well, like butter. I feel that a little apple jack Brandy in it is good, too, just for some added flavor. Pour into the jars and process in a hot bubble bath for about 10 minutes. Remove, and wipe the jars. Let them set out overnight. This is a wonderful gift to friends, great to keep around in your pantry, and a super use for a lot of apples! Enjoy!

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